With roughly three weeks to go before the NHL's trade deadline, the North Division's seven clubs are taking stock ahead of a stretch of decision-making that could come to define their 2021 campaigns.
The key among those clubs might just be the Winnipeg Jets, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
While the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers aren't expected to be too active at this year's deadline, per Johnston — though Calgary may look to add some forward depth, if possible, he added — the Jets are a different story.
"I think the Winnipeg Jets, for me, are the wild card of this trade deadline when it comes to the Canadian teams," Johnston said Saturday during Hockey Night in Canada's Headlines segment. "They've already made the big trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois. They know the good and the bad of the quarantine situation — I think that was difficult on Dubois.
"So, as they look for a defenceman, I think the question they have to ask themselves, is it worthwhile — do they want to have another player potentially sit 14 days in a hotel room before joining their team? I'm not sure which way Kevin Cheveldayoff's going to land on that."
Among the eastern teams in the division, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman added that the Ottawa Senators are currently gauging interest in their pending UFAs. The club has more than a few notable veterans whose deals expire at the end of this season, including Artem Anisimov, Ryan Dzingel and Erik Gudbranson.
The Montreal Canadiens, meanwhile, have plenty of options, with a number of assets that could be used to make moves come deadline time. But general manager Marc Bergevin says he's not sure his club will do much to alter its roster.
"The thing about Bergevin is he's unafraid and he's shown that this is an enormous year for the Canadiens with all of his actions so far," Friedman said Saturday.
"So what he's selling, not everybody is buying. He's got a lot of picks, he's got a lot of good players. He said he won't use things like that to alleviate his cap burden, but if he wants to do something big, there's probably nobody in Canada that's more capable of doing it than Bergevin is."